Skip to comments.Lessons and Regrets Precede Florida Special Election
Posted on 03/08/2014 5:57:53 AM PST by Din Maker
With just days to go in the smash-mouth special election on Floridas Gulf Coast, both parties are managing expectations ahead of what could be a narrow margin of victory. The race to replace the late Rep. C.W. Bill Young, R-Fla., is the most competitive special election of the 2014 cycle. Neither party is exuding confidence about the contest for the swingy 13th District, and nearly anyone who claims to have seen an internal poll says this tossup race will go down to the wire.
While the results of House specials are often viewed through a national lens, there is possibly no word that makes national operatives involved in this race cringe more than bellwether. Republicans are expected to keep control of the House regardless of the results of Tuesdays election, but with midterm primaries kicking off this week, the Florida contest does provide a prime opportunity to test messaging and tactics before the fall.
The Democrat in the race, Alex Sink, started with an advantage. Party insiders cleared the path to her nomination, she boasted high name identification thanks to prior statewide runs for office and shes proved to have golden fundraising skills.
Republican David Jolly spent the first half of this campaign mired in a primary race and lagged far behind in fundraising. Still, Republicans say theyre pleasantly surprised he is still competitive while Democrats are quick to remind the world that they anticipated a narrowed margin all along.
So while the races national implications are debatable, the more pressing topic among Washington party insiders is what operatives have already learned about the 2014 cycle from this race. Sink, in some ways, is the ideal special election candidate for one reason: She can raise money hand over fist.
The latest fundraising reports showed Sink raised $2.5 million in less than four months, while Jolly brought in $1 million. Much of Jollys money came from dozens of Republican members, through campaign and leadership PAC contributions.
Republican sources on Capitol Hill said the National Republican Congressional Committee made a major push to members for the donations, underscoring to the conference how important holding this seat is for the party.
To be sure, outside groups are spending millions on this race, but the onus remains on the candidates to fund their own share of TV ads. Outside groups look to the candidates advertising to glean a tone for the campaign. Also, it is logistically difficult for an outside group to cut a positive ad for a candidate because coordination is prohibited.
The only ads that feature flattering b-roll video or a direct-to-camera pleas for votes are the candidate-sponsored spots. Sink was able to go on TV earlier than Jolly and make that positive case for herself.
Beyond that, federal law dictates that candidates receive a lower price for advertising, further enhancing Sinks financial advantage.
Both candidates have long records for opposition researchers to mine Jolly as a lobbyist and Sink as a banking executive and Floridas chief financial officer.
Democrats assailed Jolly for his background as a lobbyist, while Republicans say one of the partys most effective attacks on Sink involved use of a state plane.
Is that the area saturated with New England liberals - where the libs are so well organized the community organizers take printed cards into nursing homes and assisted living facilities showing them how to vote and then the whole building votes 100% for lib candidates, even those in a coma vote.(this was revealed in the Bush-Gore debacle.)
What worthless analysis. No mention of what either one stands for or what issues they are campaigning on..... only talk about ‘races narrowing’ and ‘raising money hand over fist’
I will second that. She will probably have the edge. St Petersburg had as many Obama signs as Romney in 2012 and we know how that turned out. And that is the key, turn out.